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What the hell's up with the trope name? It sounds nothing like its definition. It makes the trope sound like the conflict is between, for example, theatrical technicians and actors who are debating who has the more vital role in making the play happen.
Not a conflict between a skilled but uncreative actor, and an unskilled but creative actor.
Terry Bradshaw (Performer) vs Roger Staubach (Technician.) Shouldn't their labels be the other way around? Bradshaw called all his own plays and adhered to the old-school maxim of running the ball first and then attempting the pass. Staubach had most of his plays fed to him by head coach Tom Landry and often deviated to hurl the Hail Mary whenever it suited him.
Staubach became more of a technician later in his career, but by his own admission (in his autobiography) he started out as mostly a guy who'd improvise on the fly and look for non by-the-book ways of doing things, and didn't learn a lot of the more cerebral aspects of the fundamentals until 4-5 years in the league.
Not sure that either of them fits the label enough to even be mentioned here, honestly.
As far as real life examples go, would the Jules Verne/H.G. Wells feud count? From what I've read, Vernes focus was writing scientifically plausible stories with social commentary afterward, while Wells wrote socially conscious stories and didn't particularly care about the science. So would Verne be a technician and Wells a performer?
The comparison of Eastern and Western martial arts is perhaps better phrased as "the way of teaching [...] leans towards technician/performer". Individual martial artists might differ, but there is a definite difference to how they are taught - Western to be efficient in as short a time (and as broad terms) as possible, Eastern often more as a way of life than anything immediately useful.
For the film 'The Prestige', the example lists Angier as the Performer and Borden as the Technician, but I always figured it the other way around: Angier relied on science (via Nikola Tesla!) to perform his Transported Man, while Borden's version is deceptively simple, just requiring an absolute dedication to the art of the performance.
Under professional wrestling, this is a tricky one because while the storyline is certainly available and legitimate, its rarely played out straight. Bryan/Miz is probably the best example of it being straight. Hart/Michaels isn't quite right because Shawn is so good technically as well, even though that was the subtext (well, one anyway) of the feud.
I keep fluctuating on whether Taker, HHH, Rock and Cena fit this mold. They're all decent-to-great workers, but they are so good at the performance, they don't necessarily need to rely on their workrate.
OK - I figured out my edit :-)
I would think, as a general rule, that Performers out to put on a show would be Faces. They tend to have better mic skills and pull off the more impressive spots. Heels, on the other hand, are the Technicians who, though their impressive wrestling skill, can be a formidable foe for the Face and can tell the story by setting the Face up for the spots.
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How well does it match the trope?